The Denver Nuggets are coming off their worst season since 2002-03. They only won 36 games and they were hit with a bunch of injuries. One player who has not been talked about much since he got hurt is Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari tore his ACL in April of 2013 and missed the remainder of the season. His name was not in the headlines like a Derrick Rose and he quietly sat out the entire 2013-14 season. A healthy Nuggets team might be able to make a run to the playoffs.
Winning 36 games in a tough Western Conference when the majority of your team has battled injury is tough to do. In the previous season George Karl led the Nuggets, a team with no Superstars to 57 wins but they lost in the 1st round of the playoffs. Losing Gallinari hurt the Nuggets going into the playoffs not having him around this past season hurt this team.
Danilo Gallinari is not a superstar or an All-Star by any means but he is a decent player who played well for the Nuggets. He was getting a better understanding of the NBA game when he was traded for Carmelo Anthony. In the strike shorten season he only played in 43 games averaging 14.6 points, 4.7 rpg but only shot 41% from the field and 32% from beyond the arc.
Before getting hurt Gallinari played and started in all 71 games for the Nuggets, averaging 16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, still only shot 41% from the field but he was shooting 37% from 3 point land. He was sorely missed in the playoffs as the Nuggets lost to the Warriors in six games.
George Karl was replaced by 1st year coach Brain Shaw and Gallinari never attempted to make a comeback. The injury bug hit this team early and often. JaVale McGee only played in five games before missing the rest of the season, Nate Robinson only played in 44 games. Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson and Ty Lawson all missed time. Lawson is their best player and he had to shut it down after 62 games.
The Nuggets still played a high tempo game, finishing 3rd in Pace, which is the number of possessions per 48 minutes. They were 9th in 3 point attempts per game which is amazing since they only have one knock down shooter in Randy Foye. He shot 38% from the 3 point line while hitting 189 threes. Chandler was second on the team at 122 threes on 34% shooting. In Gallanari’s last season he hit 135 three pointers.
The return of Gallo will not only help this team stretch the floor but he is a guy who is versatile. You can run the offense through him and he can create a shot off the dribble. He is another finisher on the break and he has the height to guard multiple positions.
The Denver Nuggets also managed to acquire Arron Afflalo while adding Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris from the draft. He played for the Nuggets in the past and he is coming off a season in which he averaged career highs in points, three pointers made and percentage. He is another weapon in this system and he is a good defender on the perimeter. Jusuf Nurkic is only 19 but he has competed and played well overseas. Gary Harris can plays well on both sides of the ball and will contribute immediately off the bench.
If Gallinari returns to form the Nuggets could look to move Wilson Chandler. These two players do similar things and are around the same age. Chandler makes less money so he will be easier to move. If this Nuggets team is healthy they will be fun to watch. A team with no All-Stars can make a run to the playoffs once again.